June 4, 2009
Posted: 12:03 PM ET
Plastics are everywhere - in our cars, in bottles and under my fingers as I type this post. But, increasingly, there are questions about the synthetic material's impact on the environment and on human health.
There are some efforts to ban certain types of plastics. Others seek to recycle more. And technology is being developed to make plastics from new materials, like plants, instead of petroleum.
Here's the latest breakdown on technology and the plastics industry:
BANS: On Tuesday, California's state senate passed a bill that would ban BPA plastics in the state, the LA Times reports. Independent scientists have found that BPA, a chemical found in some baby bottles and food cans, can impair childhood development. On the federal level, the Food and Drug Administration is currently investigating the issue and is expected to release a new opinion in a matter of weeks, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
More from that paper:
OCEANS: At least one group is trying to scoop plastic hunks out of the ocean, the San Jose Mercury News reports. When plastic is dumped at sea, or blows from the land into the ocean, it tends to congregate near ocean gyres, where the water swirls around a point (this video will help you make sense of the situation). Here's more on the project to scoop plastic out of the ocean:
Plastics biodegrade very slowly, if ever, and environmental groups worry about their effects on ocean life. Sea turtles, for instance, think plastic grocery bags are jellyfish. They swallow them and then suffocate.
TECH: CNET writes about a start-up company in San Diego that is trying to turn sugar water into spandex, which would go into stretchy pants and car dashboards. They story says plants, like sugar cane, appeal to plastics makers in part because their price fluctuates less wildly than oil, the more common building-block for plastics. More on that:
From around the web
Are you a gadgethead? Do you spend hours a day online? Or are you just curious about how technology impacts your life? In this digital age, it's increasingly important to be fluent, or at least familiar, with the big tech trends. From gadgets to Google, smartphones to social media, this blog will help keep you informed.